Lincoln City: City Council restores more discretion to the VCB on awarding special event/funding grants
After experimenting for the better part of two years with different ways to issue city grants to local tourism promotion groups and their special events (which are supposed to pump up tourism – heads in beds/restaurant business, shopping, etc.) the city council has agreed that the Visitors and Convention Bureau (VCB) should be trusted to know which groups and events deserve such funding, and which ones less so without the city council looking over their shoulder.
The council decided some time back that there should be more money available for “for profit” organization events, assuming that profitable businesses already know how to run a special event profitably. But it was soon discovered that local for profit organizations did not sign up in the droves as was hoped for.
On another front, providing city tourism funds to local groups and agencies that don’t hold special events, but which are an important contributor to the local economy and community reputation as a quality destination (Connie Hansen Gardens, North Lincoln County Historical Society) should be given some support by tourism funds through the VCB. It was mentioned that organizations like the historical society frequently apply for grants from outside agencies and foundations that require funding also from local sources so the grantor is not the only source of money.
There was also discussion about whether the VCB should require that public funding of local special events have a three year limit – the idea being that if after three years an event is still not self-sustaining it should realize it’s not successful, and therefore no longer worthy of city support. VCB Executive Director Sandy Pfaff said there are some local groups, by the nature of their event, don’t make a lot of money…but none-the-less greatly enhance tourism revenues from hotel and motel taxes, restaurant business and general shopping. The council lifted the three year limit but urged the VCB to view such issues with a discerning eye.
The council seemed okay with giving the VCB and its staff a longer leash on their discretion on how to promote and grow Lincoln City’s tourism economy.